Pacific Softball Heads To The Championship With A Win Over Nevada
Playing both the final game of round-robin play and the semifinals of the Libby Matson Tournament, the Pacific softball team won the game they needed most as the Tigers earned a spot in the tournament championship with a win over Nevada, 3-2 on Saturday, March 2. Earlier in the day, Pacific suffered a 4-2 loss to San Jose State to close out round-robin action. The split moved the Tigers' record to 12-6 overall and 2-2 at the tournament.
Game 1: San Jose State 4 - Pacific 2
Facing the hottest team in the tournament, the Tigers could not overcome a lack of execution with runners in scoring position as Pacific dropped the final game of round-robin play to the Spartans. Despite jumping out to an early two run lead, the Tigers missed opportunities to put away San Jose State, opening the door for the Spartans to come from behind and take the game.
Overall, Pacific's offense posted a pair of runs in the loss as the Tigers scored in both the first and second innings of action. In the first, Pacific grabbed the opening run of the game without the benefit of a hit as the Tigers took advantage of a leadoff walk and a Spartan error to set up the score. With freshman Sara Anderson, who led the inning off with the free pass, at third, senior Nikki Armagost drove a ground ball to the right side to plate the young designated player. Unfortunately for Pacific, the inning would end with just the one run crossing the plate as the Tigers left the bases loaded in the inning.
An inning later, the Tigers used three-straight hits to grab their first earned run of the tournament. Relying on their freshmen to set the table, Pacific put a pair of runners in scoring position as Melanie Habib singled with one out in the inning before Anderson delivered a double off the second baseman's glove. From there, senior Megan Hom delivered the goods as she drove a single through the right-side to bring home Habib and give Pacific the 2-0 lead. Once again, however, the Tigers would be unable to scratch across any more runs in the inning despite having a runner at third with less than two outs in the inning.
The Tigers misses at the plate would come back to bite them in the end as the Spartans rallied over the next three innings to take the lead and down the Tigers. In the third, San Jose State tied the game with one mighty swing of the bat while single runs in the third and fourth would prove to be the difference. Pacific had its chances to get back into the game but misses with the bases loaded in the fourth and runners in scoring position in the fifth would do in the Tigers.
In the circle, sophomore Dani Bonnet was charged with the loss as the sophomore fell to 2-2 overall after going 4.0 innings while giving up eight hits, three walks and four earned runs. On the other side of the net, Allison Lang picked up the win as she entered in relief to shut down the Tigers. Amanda Pridmore earned the save after stopping a late Pacific rally.
Game 2: Pacific 3 - Nevada 2
Entering semifinal action as the No. 3 seed and getting a chance at redemption against a Nevada team that handed them a 1-0 loss the night before, the Tigers were able to come through in the end to earn a spot in the championship game.
Tied at 2-2 in the seventh inning, the Tigers rallied for the game-winning run as they were able to do what they had been unable to do the entire night; execute with the bases loaded. Getting the chance to deliver with the bases full of her teammates, junior Taylor Petty launched a drive to deep center field that was deep enough to allow Anderson to trot home for what would be the game-winning score. Anderson had led the inning off with an infield single, and moved to third on a pair of bunts and one Wolf Pack error.
Prior to the seventh, the Tigers' execution errors continued to rear their ugly head as Pacific left 10 runners on base, including leaving seven in scoring position. Despite the mistakes, Pacific was able to notch just enough offense over the first three innings to keep themselves in the contest as the Tigers scored a single run in both the first and third innings of play. In the first, it was Anderson again that started things for Pacific as she singled through the left-side on the first pitch of the game. After a bunt moved her to second, junior Megan Foglesong laced a double to center to bring home the run.
In the third, the freshman worked a five-pitch walk to begin the frame and set up the inning. After a pair of bunts moved her to third, Armagost drove her home for the second time in the day with a ground ball to the right side for Pacific's second run of the game. In all, Anderson scored all three runs of the game for the Tigers and was on base, three of her four trips to the plate.
The Tigers needed their offense early in the game as Pacific was forced to balance a pair of first inning runs by the Wolf Pack. For Nevada, the first run came courtesy of a pair of doubles to center by Karly Hopkins and Sara Parsons while the final run of the frame came on a sacrifice fly. In total, both runs were charged to the Tigers' starter, junior Tori Shepard, as the third-year hurler went 5.0 innings while giving up four hits and two walks. She gave way to the freshman, Carly Mortensen, in the bottom of the sixth as Mortensen pitched her way through the heart of the Wolf Pack order in the sixth before shutting down Nevada in the seventh to earn the win.
The victory for Mortensen was her first of her young career as she went two innings while allowing one base-runner on a leadoff walk in the bottom of the seventh. Mortensen had seen action in relief earlier in the day as she pitched three innings against the Spartans, giving up just two hits and striking out one.
With the win against the Wolf Pack, the Tigers earned a spot in the championship game of their tournament as Pacific will get a chance at redemption against San Jose State. The Spartans earned their spot in the final game of the Libby Matson Tournament with a 1-0 win over Southern Utah earlier in the afternoon as San Jose State improved to 4-0 in Stockton. Nevada and Southern Utah will face off in the consolation game at 10 am.